Disclaimer: If bookbinding, craftiness, and instructional blog posts make your eyes glaze over, you might want to skip this and go read about why you should support Eric Peters’ new album instead. (2 days people!) But if that sort of thing sounds interesting to you, read on…

Last year, Sherri and I participated in The Sketchbook Project, a traveling art exhibit of sketchbooks created by thousands of artists around the globe. It was a delightful learning experience (you can see scans of our book at her sketch blog), but after seeing the Orlando stop of the tour and checking out some of the other books, we realized just how creative and far you can take this thing. We signed up for the 2012 tour right there and have spent the past few months kicking around ideas, mostly of the “Yeah, we need to think about that” variety.

So we’ve settled on a theme. Because we love concerts and posters, we’re designing posters for some of our favorites from the past few years to make a visual show diary. Should be fun!

Of course, there is one little restraint… these sketchbooks are kind of tiny for something like poster art. One of the rules for the tour is that as long as the book stays in the same dimensions, they can be taken apart and reconstructed in any way. After checking out tutorials for DIY bookbinding, I did a little experimenting with some cheap supplies to see if our plan would work.

For the purpose of record keeping and possibly helping anyone else who might want to try their hand at perfect binding on the cheap, here’s how I did it.

Supplies! For this I used basic printer paper, card stock, binding clips, school glue (for binding) and glue stick (for pages)

Didn’t get a picture of this step, but I folded five sheets of paper into quarters, then stacked them so the turn like pages and fold down and open into a full page. I used glue stick to put each page together to reinforce the pages and make the folding pattern less confusing. Now the sheets are doubled up, so each page spread unfolds to a full page.

After stacking them, I used binder clips and a ruler to hold the folded edges together and brushed white glue allllll over that edge. Then I used two more binder clips to stand it up and avoid making an epic mess.

Once the glue had dried a few hours, it’s time for the cover! Cut a piece of card stock to size, folded it around the stack, then put plenty of glue in the crease and used binder clips to squish it together and let it dry overnight.

The final result! Attempted to pretty up the cover with rubber stamps. I am not a graphic designer.

This is what the pages look like open.

And this is how they fold out!

So far, it seems a success. The pages seemed to stick and crease weird at first, but after opening the book a few times, they unfold rather nicely. How well they’ll hold up after multiple openings and with art on the pages remains to be seen. I figure if the pages don’t fall out, it’s not a failure.

There are so many possibilities for this technique… like poetry chapbooks, mini notebooks/sketchbooks, journals, etc. Looking forward to trying this out with some nicer materials too.

Thus ends the instructional crafty post! Hope it helps or was at least interesting to somebody.

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